December 2, 2020

“Additional Doctrines,” Baptist Style

In debates and discussions here at Internet Monk.com, a reader is likely to read that Catholics have “added doctrines” to Christianity. My reaction is not so much to challenge the statement- I believe it is a universal fact in Christian history- but to raise the issue of whether evangelicals really shouldn’t be somewhat more careful where they point that particular weapon. It could go off and hurt someone they know.

Just for example, I’ve thought back to my own upbringing in a Southern Baptist fundamentalist church in Western Kentucky. Did I encounter any “added doctrines?”

Let me be clear that I heard the Gospel in this church, was discipled intentionally, learned much about community and leadership and was encouraged and affirmed in my gifts and callings. I’m grateful for all the good the Holy Spirit did in me through that community.

But in this same context, I learned…

1. The only way to receive Jesus Christ and be saved was to walk the aisle at the end of a sermon and repeat a prayer provided by the preacher.

2. That the American flag and patriotic demonstrations were part of worship.

3. The Jesus had founded the Southern Baptist church, which had existed from Biblical times to the present day.

4. That Christians must be teetotalers, and no one in the Bible ever drank wine.

5. The King James Version was the only real Bible.

6. No one could be a Christian if they weren’t a Baptist.

7. There was an extensive dress code and behavior code for Christians that could not be specifically found in the Bible.

8. The civil rights movement was wrong and the Vietnam war was right.

9. Tithing was a New Testament requirement for all Christians.

10. Church sponsored revivals were endorsed in the Bible.

11. Deacons were supposed to run the church.

12. Sunday was a day when all businesses must be closed, and we should vote to impose that view on the community.

13. All true believers had a “born again” experience which they could recall and describe.

14. Being a good Christian was a matter of attending church events. especially all worship services and Sunday School.

There are certainly other matters on which our church taught and promoted questionable doctrines. We were strongly dispensational and had extensive beliefs about the end of the world, for example. If you crawled up inside a lot of things we said and did, you’d find bunches of legalism and even superstition.

The big difference is that these doctrines aren’t part of any Baptist confession of faith, though some were part of our church covenant, and all were frequently preached, taught and enforced.

Are these errors as bad as the extra-Biblical doctrines my church would have charged to Roman Catholicism? Purgatory? Praying to Mary? Papal infallibility? That’s not my call. But they are substantial. They deny or distort important things that all Christians believe.

Just a reminder that we need to be equally aware of our own issues with “additional doctrines” that can’t be substantiated by scripture. (And as I said elsewhere, our Catholic friends wouldn’t claim that everything they believe is clearly taught in the Bible. We did.)

Comments

  1. Fabulous topic and Great responses. As a Baptist preacher and former legalistic idiot, I now have to wonder if I really was saved because:

    #1. I was listening on car radio to Jimmy S. in the early 70’s & prayed while driving
    #2. God and Country were almost synonymous (and their order was interchangable).
    #3. A lot of Baptists got under J.M. Carroll’s skirts with this one..
    #4. We are priests and kings before God and strong drink is not for kings O Lemuel….
    #5. SO Very ingrained that my (originally Methodist) wife still can use no other version.
    #6. Matthew was a LEVI Baptist!.
    #7. The tie was the modern version of the sash Jesus wore.

  2. It’s funny, my first experience with Baptists was with an American Baptist Church in a college town in the North. My wife and I actually left because we found it too liberal– and I’m a N.T. Wright lovin’, Old Earth leaning type.

    Moving to the South has been a real education for me. I wanted to know more about the dominant culture of the area, so I started Googling “Baptist.” My, my, did I ever get an education– KJV-onlyism, syncopated beats make you think about sex, Landmarkism, the “well to Hell”…

  3. “#7. The tie was the modern version of the sash Jesus wore.”

    Fascinating how traditions develop, isn’t it? This reminds me of the maniple, which is now gone out of fashion, but used to be used (and still is, in the Latin Mass).

    The maniple is a band of cloth worn on the left arm by the priest; in an old Missal I have, the significance of the vestments is explained one by one and the maniple is said to signify “the fruit of good works, as a reward for painful exertion and struggle; it is the Priest’s duty to fear neither suffering nor labour. Girdle, Stole and Maniple represent the cords with which Jesus was bound, and the rod with whcih He was beaten.”

    The vesting prayer said when putting on the maniple is “Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris; ut cum exsultatione recipiam mercedem laboris. ‘Grant, O Lord, that I may so bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow, that I may receive the reward for my labors with rejoicing.'”

    All very pious, yet all this is only a later explanation for why the maniple was worn, when the original purpose had been forgotten or superceded; in origin, the maniple was probably of the nature of a handkerchief, as it was a piece of cloth used to wipe the face and hands, then (probably) carried as an ornamental indication of rank, then it was invested with liturgical significance.

    Same way the idea of ties = sashes developed out of the notion of dressing modestly and fitly for sacred ceremonies?

  4. Actually, this long digression into the by-ways of rubrical minutiae makes me think that the solution to all our problems (yours and ours, between the Scylla and Charbydis of legalism and licence) is to send all the “Spirit of Vatican II” folks to the Southern Baptists and then ‘duck and cover’ 🙂

  5. To Patrick Lynch-

    I think it has been declared in the past that “Metallica Rules” by Several Papal Encyclicals.

    To Martha-

    I wouldn’t wish the “spirit of Vatican II” to our worst enemies. Thank God for B16 Summorum Pontificum and the re-stablishment of the Tridentine Rite.

    Save the Liturgy; Save the World.

  6. Memphis Aggie says

    Say the red do the black

  7. Memphis Aggie says

    Oops had that exactly inverted: Say the black do the red

  8. Martha:

    Now all I need to do is get the inflection correct…

    Gaelic calls to the Irish side of me like the sea did for Legolas in the Lord of the Rings. I am assuming though that brolly translates to umbrella for us in the States. By the way would the games be football(soccer) or rugby (or any sport ’cause its going to be bloody fun)?

  9. The encyclopedia article on Fr. Theobald Matthew, the Apostle of Temperance is quite fascinating.

    But balancing that is the Blessing over Beer from the Rituale Romanum:

    Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord.

    One can only be so legalistic about booze with a blessing like that on the books!

  10. Radagast, those would include association football (soccer), rugby football, and the native games Gaelic football and hurling, which though amateur (more or less) can be extremely competitive. Since hurling involves striking the ball using sticks made from ash, swinging those around at head-height can indeed result in the commentators needing phrases such as “X is injured/bleeding/lying stretched on the grass” 😉

    Giovanni, I was thinking of it along the lines of the meeting of matter and anti-matter 🙂

  11. good stuff, very true, although i didn’t regularly go to a baptist church until about age 19. still, saw it all and still see it.

    i think you can take it a step farther. evangelicals, especially baptists, complain about individuals in the catholic church having power and the authoritative say about matters, i.e. papal authority and such. yet evangelicals establish de facto authorities, i.e. piper, packer, and a small pail of others.

    if i hear one more unquestioned “piper says” or “packer believes” or “mohler says” or “patterson believe,” it’s possible i’ll lose control and end up on the news lol. evangelicals cite these guys as unchecked authorities . . . smell of catholicism?

  12. Memphis Aggie –

    I see somebody has been visiting Fr. Z’s website.

    Martha –

    Oh well yeah, sorry my stomach churns everytime I hear that phrase as well as my eyes beggin to move towards the back of my head which is followed by a sigh or a shake of the head.

  13. 12. Sunday was a day when all businesses must be closed, and we should vote to impose that view on the community.
    I like this one look at what having the businesses open has done ( almost has murdered America) now Christians have to fight for Sundays so they can be in Church, they call a Christian SELFISH if we want Sundays of . Sam had Wal-Mart closed on Sundays until his death, then his kids took over and messed things up and opened it
    I bless Companies like Chick-Fil-A who do close.

  14. 7th Heaven
    I’m not much for wmen preacheer, but this one show I believe it was on April 11 when the Daughter of the main minister who is the Associate Pastor preached, she mentioned a lot of things and said it wasn’t long ago when the businesses was closed on Sundays. I want to add to this, ot used to be that the Churches was full now the Churches aren’t, everyone still says America is a Christian Nation, this is far from the truth, if a Christian says anythibg that the world disagrees with they call it hate, but they can say what they want even useing the LORD thy God’s name profoundly, businesses are open on Sundays,Christians are told work ob Sundays or you have no job, families are scattered, noone gets along, money is placed over God, Christians eat out on Sundays (this tells the business world it’s ok to take Chrisitans out of Church) when the Bible says In Heb Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. if we banded together and not purchase anything on Sundays I believe we would see a whole lot of Change for the better, maybe we would get the care for one another back LORD Bless

  15. FWIW, over here in Seventh-Day Adventist circles, it’s the Sunday laws that have been the sign of degeneracy because they mock the Saturday Sabbath. SDAs do some of the things on IM’s list but #2, mixing government and church is a big no-no.

  16. K from St. Pete says

    But isn’t the whole concept of a Christian nation absurd? Human nature being what it is, any explicitly Christian country would be corrupt and have all sorts of problems, turning people off from christianity right at the beginning. This is what has happened, to a certain extent, in the South- look at how many younger people go to church- very few. They’ve well understood the reality of “christian politics” in this country.

  17. Let me display my ignorance. How about the phrase “personal relationship with Jesus” in order to be saved? Yes, I do have a relationship with Jesus, but what if, via the sacrifice of Jesus,I spend my time in prayer with the Father, with the help of the Spirit? Does one need to say, those words “personal relationship?”

  18. Comment on babies — part of the Orthodox disagreement with the West is that we accuse the West of believing in original guilt rather than original sin. Because our take is different, there is no worrying about unbaptized babies among us.

    On rules — could part of the problem be the unwillingness to admit that there are traditions? That is, in reaction to the Roman Catholic Church, have some Protestants so tried to deny the place of tradition in the Church that they have dug themselves into a worse problem than they allege that we have?

    You see, if tradition is always, and only, bad, then you must justify everything by some Biblical rule, regardless of the amount of eisogesis you have to do. Worse, once you justify it by Scripture–which never changes–you are either stuck with a tradition that can never change, or you end up being a laughingstock several decades later when the rule is openly flouted or obviously ridiculous, even to members of your own group. Meanwhile, we have more than one type of tradition, as do Roman Catholics and Anglicans.

    The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (Anglican) say, “It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.”

    Look at the balance that is struck there. Traditions can be different from place to place and can change, if necessary. Nevertheless, no private person may freely break the rules of the Church by simply saying that they are not commanded in Scripture. In fact, that type of person needs to be disciplined for they are unwise and understand little about the Kingdom of God!

    There may indeed be reason, at times, to forbid the wearing of mini-skirts, short shorts, or pants so low that they show half of your boxers. When those times are there, the Church has the authority to forbid those things for a time, whether long, short, or forever. It does not need to show that they are forbidden in Scripture. The Church only needs to show that they do not contradict Scripture, violate some doctrine, or lead to the violation of some doctrine, and that they are currently necessary rules.

    You see, besides the question of tradition, the question of authority is also involved. In groups in which the only authority is Scripture on issues of ethics and morality; in groups where the Church is denied any authority save it can find a quote from some verse of Scripture–even if eisogeted–it is inevitable that either the individual become the actual authority or that the exegesis of Scripture is destroyed beneath the heel of necessity, the necessity of providing clear moral guidance to the Church. And, once exegesis is destroyed, it is but a short step to cultish behavior.

    If you admit that tradition is possible, and that the Church has real authority, then the logic behind the rules becomes simpler. Moreover, when the necessity is gone or the culture changes, the rules can be slowly (or quickly) modified as necessary. After all, they are not Scripture, but rules found to be necessary by the Church. Orthodox worship in the USA–for instance–is actually shorter than Orthodox worship in some other countries, and so on. Our women do not, by and large, wear veils here, but they certainly do in other countries, etc.

    A final note, we consider Holy Tradition to be a different thing than tradition, but that is another subject. I am talking here about traditions.

  19. Bry McClellan says

    FR. Ernesto,
    You are a wise person. I always appreciate your take on things. You have a way of pulling all that has been said and bring some perspective to it. I am a Baptist that has leanings toward Orthodoxy so I listen more closely than some may but I wanted to let you know that you bring a good balance to this blog. I don’t know if I have commented before but I always enjoy Michael’s blog. I believe he is doing a good work in bringing people together to discuss things in a civil way that has not been happening in the past, at least at the lay level.
    Bry

  20. Ky boy but not now says

    “You see, besides the question of tradition, the question of authority is also involved. In groups in which the only authority is Scripture on issues of ethics and morality; in groups where the Church is denied any authority save it can find a quote from some verse of Scripture–even if eisogeted–it is inevitable that either the individual become the actual authority or that the exegesis of Scripture is destroyed beneath the heel of necessity, the necessity of providing clear moral guidance to the Church. And, once exegesis is destroyed, it is but a short step to cultish behavior.”

    You have well articulated much of my opinion. And each church (at whatever level) can determine traditions / standards for their membership. But what some of us here have experienced in our church lives is traditions that get morphed into “you are not a Christian if”.

    This is a big failing of much of the SBC and from what I’ve seen much of the rest of the Christian world. And to be honest I’ve not had much rub elbows experience with the EO compared to many of the others.

  21. I grew up in the charismatic church, which had its own extra-biblical conventions:

    1. The best way to receive Jesus Christ and be saved was to walk the aisle at the end of a sermon and repeat a prayer provided by the preacher (just like the Baptists, who were the Christians NOT in the Pentecostal/charismatic church, believed).

    2. We had the American flag on stage, too, and always “celebrated” America around the 4th of July.

    3. The church Jesus founded spoke in tongues and performed miracles, and the true church still spoke in tongues (even if its various parts disagreed on how that worked itself out) and miracles still happened, usually in special healing services or in healing lines after the regular service.

    4. No one in the Bible ever drank beer, either, and you better not, either.

    5. The King James Version is the most real Bible, but if the TV preachers and travelling teachers (Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Gloria Copeland) used the Amplified Bible, it was okay, too.

    6. Christianity was determined on one’s status with Jesus, though if you weren’t charismatic, you were considered a Baptist.

    7. Men: dress in suits and ties on Sunday. Ladies: nice dresses on Sunday. Gotta look your best on the Lord’s Day, you know.

    8. Christian rock was sinful. Jimmy Swaggart was right. Reagan was of God. The liberal media and the world it covered was of the devil.

    9. You better be tithing at least 10 percent, and if you wanted to prosper more, then you’d need to be tithing more.

    10. All true Christians went to old fashioned revival meetings to hear some traveling evangelist or (if your church was big enough) a well-known TV evangelist, in a tent, sometime during the summer (or, in the church building, with the AC running, if it was too hot).

    11. The pastor ran the church, with assistant pastors to help him.

    12. Sunday was the Lord’s Day, when we dressed up to meet Jesus at church, then went out to a nice restaurant and ate. Many (but not all) people apparently came back for the evening service, when God chose to let His gifts loose on the people (He also chose to let those gifts loose at the mid-week service, and/or during the summer week-long tent revivals).

    13. “All true believers had a “born again” experience which they could recall and describe.” Amen, my Baptist brother. What day and service did YOU raise that hand and walk that aisle?

    14. Being a good Christian was a matter of attending church events. especially all worship services and Sunday School. Also, speaking in tongues. And, watching/reading people like Jimmy Swaggart, PTL, Kenneth Copeland, Pat Robertson, and that Baptist, Charles Stanley.

  22. Brother,

    Just wanted to say that your post brought back some memories. I too am from Western KY- Muhlenberg County (for all non-Kentuckians, we Kentuckians identify ourselves to one another by the county in which we come from- it’s just a thing with us). Like yourself, I experienced some liberalism, but ever so much love and discipleship. Looking back now, my favorite issue growing up was trying to figure out if we actually were a Southern Baptist Church. We went by the name “Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church” and as a youngster I always wanted to know if we were “Missionary Baptists” or “Southern Baptists.” Funny thing is, no one could actually tell me! I had to figure it out on my own as I grew up.

    Interesting that you mentioned the democrat voting deal. We too were all registered and usually voting democrat, but that was because of the massive union influence from the coal mines.

    Blessings,
    TJ

  23. Brother,

    Just wanted to say that your post brought back some memories. I too am from Western KY- Muhlenberg County (for all non-Kentuckians, we Kentuckians identify ourselves to one another by the county in which we come from- it’s just a thing with us). Like yourself, I experienced some fundamentalism, but ever so much love and discipleship as well. Looking back now, my favorite issue growing up was trying to figure out if we actually were a Southern Baptist Church. We went by the name “Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church” and as a youngster I always wanted to know if we were “Missionary Baptists” or “Southern Baptists.” Funny thing is, no one could actually tell me! I had to figure it out on my own as I grew up.

    Interesting that you mentioned the democrat voting deal. We too were all registered and usually voting democrat, but that was because of the massive union influence from the coal mines.

    Blessings,
    TJ

  24. Fr. Ernesto:

    “…part of the Orthodox disagreement with the West is that we accuse the West of believing in original guilt rather than original sin. ”

    I believe that because the East did not embrace this portion of Augustinian thought the Immaculate Conception made no sense to the East (if there is no inherited sin from the Fall then Mary, being born without Original Sin made no sense).

    I have been doing some studying on Eastern thought and came across a good article on how Eastern Orthodox view justification written by Valarie Karras (in light of the joint declaration on justification agreed to by Catholics and a segment of Lutherans): http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/justification.htm

    Although she may be considered a bit liberal in EO circles, I found it an interesting read from an EO point of view.

  25. Just because a group is loving, and has some good doctrine does not mean it is not a cult. Take a deep breath, look at the definition of cult, and there you are.

  26. Interesting link, Radagast. Very through piece of theology. It is flawed, however, in a way that I see frustratingly often in Orthodox writings, in that she states “Western Christianity teaches X, whereas the East says Y”, where Y is what I am being taught in my RCIA class by a conservative Roman Catholic professor of philosophy. I agree with much of what she says in that article, and she is pretty spot on in regards to Lutheran views of Justification. Really, it’s astounding how the points where she goes out of her way to differentiate between East and West are the areas where she uses the exact same language to say the exact same thing as my catechist. This I think is a positive sign.

  27. Sam:

    I find it an interesting article from the standpoint of how the Orthodox see the situation. She does a pretty thorough job in explaining her point of view, though I too, do not agree with all she states in the article.

    willoh:

    You need to define what your meaning of ‘cult’ is. If you are looking at it from a mind control or spritual abuse point of view then I would suggest that none of the major denominations fall into this category. Although I once heard a caller on a non-denominational talk show try to convince the listeners that the Catholic church was a cult.

  28. Of course that does not mean there isn’t spiritual abuse in individual churches…

  29. Any group that uses the basics of established common thought and practice and yet go beyond biblical orthodoxy and add to the observances a set of man made rules, regulations, and doctrine would be a cult to me. One of the dangers of established denominations is that denominational distinctives take on a weight equal to that of the very commandments of God. It is important to cult leaders that even questioning is strongly forbidden.

  30. So established denominations that follow a specific theology that in your view could not expressly be determined in Sacred Scripture would be a cult? Those faith traditions that include creeds in setting doctrinal boundaries also fall under your definition? Under your definition does that mean these cults are harmful?

    If someone was to follow your specific interpretation of scripture would this small nucleus be considered a cult?

  31. 1. Yes absolutely, and not so much with my view being the ultimate judge, but with the denomination being able to say to their own standard “thus Saith the Lord”. If you are in a group that decides to follow traditions established by time , a leader, or elders of some kind, those traditions must be set on a separate man-made level, and not elevated to Holy Writ. If the Amish wish to ride buggies that is fine, but to tell the world automotive transportation is a portal to Hell is wrong. If you like the way Menno, or Wesley, or John Paul , or preacher Jimmy-Bob, expressed their faith that is wonderful, but they are not God.
    2. Creeds based on Scripture used to set doctrinal boundaries must be open to vigorous examination and not held so sacred as to be above such examination.
    3. These cults may or may not be harmful to the participants, but certainly are harmful to the Kingdom of Christ. Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
    I take this as a warning against adulterating God’s Word to any degree, not only in Rev.
    It is the “add ons” that repel many in the world from the saving grace of Jesus, not His Message. It is the hypocracy of many systems, like the rules M. Spencer describes, that turns many thinking minds away from the simplicity of the Mysteries of Christ. When we add to what is Perfect, do we think it will improve?
    4.I do not propose a specific interpretation of scripture, I propose that scripture be interpreted.
    We all need to be like our brothers in Acts, and do what”seems right” to us and the Holy Spirit. Notice they said what seems right. These people, full of the Holy Ghost and taught by the Ultimate Teacher, did what SEEMED right, they did not issue a binding encyclical claiming to speak for God.
    Radagast, thank you for your questions please hear that while I am strong in my opinions, I do not think my opinions any better than those of anyone else.
    There lies the crux. IMHO, Whether in the hills of Kentucky or the Halls of Rome, the Words of God are found only in Scripture, not out of the mouths of man. Additives are poison.
    We await His return when the Bride will be United!

  32. willoh,

    “These people, full of the Holy Ghost and taught by the Ultimate Teacher, did what SEEMED right, they did not issue a binding encyclical claiming to speak for God.”

    Obviously, issuing binding encyclicals claiming to speak for God SEEMED right – and was evidently guided by the Holy Spirit, as such things have been happening for a MILLENNIUM and helped keep the Catholic Church together.

    Ultimately, Protestantism’s root problem is that it doesn’t want to believe that holiness, faith, fervor, and indeed God’s Favor have always existed in the Roman Church and were quite as common in medieval Christianity as during the Reformation and today. By trying to run with ‘holiness’ and ‘being open to the Bible’ as a fresh gimmick (lets call it The Spirit of Revival), Protestantism ceases to be able to explain coherently anything that came before it.

    If you can just admit that it would seem God’s been looking after the Catholics every bit as much as he’s been looking after the Jews before them, a lot of this “additional doctrines” talk sort of explains itself away.

  33. You are right Patrick Lynch in a way, but the truth is I would like to see it, but it is not there to be seen. As the great folk artists Crosby, Stills and Nash have sung,”Too many people have died in the name of Christ, and I can’t believe it all”. Ditto As a student of history I weep over deeds done in the name of my Savior.
    Holiness and being open to the bible is not a fresh gimmick. It worked for the Bereans and it will work for us. Owch, that really hurt, fresh gimmicks, wow.
    In my Humble Opinion, the work of redemption was done by Our Lord and needs no further add ons, I read that we were to go forth, not complicate.
    Out of respect to our host and Love for all I withdraw my stubborn , but amazingly blessed self from discussion, hoping above all to meet When He Returns. Peace!

  34. willoh, we don’t have to explain our present-day faith to the dead people of the past OR their murderers.

    I don’t consider my faith as the rationale for doing what I do, or would imagine that my beliefs explain my actions. My faith is not my excuse or explanation for why I act the way I do.

    That’s why I don’t weep over the sins done in the name of Jesus.

    I have no interest in reforming, excusing, or even talking about the sins of my past co-religionists. Other people may not like me because of what they did or didn’t do, but I don’t owe them an explanation for some strange Europeans. They’re all as dead as if they never lived. Who cares?

    Their thoughts, excuses, rationales, theological bullshitting – I can’t share the grace of a saint’s life, why should I bear the guilt of some dead sinners?

    Likewise, I wouldn’t expect that other people’s twice-weekly attendance at one building or another, or their preference of ancient reading material, explains much behind what they do – no matter what creed they make out of it.

    We live in today. We’re not smarter, or holier, or more serious about our faith in this generation than we ever have been. We are a stupid tribe of Christians: every once in awhile, somebody reads a couple of Bible verses about holiness and purity and goes nuts being Holier-Than-Thou and trying to throw out the money changers as if that’s OUR job, but it’s not.

    That’s why I’m so suspicious of people who do pretend that No Creed But The Bible isn’t just a way to distance themselves from Guilt By Association with past Christian failures.

    Protestants are ALWAYS trying to weed the field before they’re told to, criticizing everything that, in their ignorance and itching to prove their ardor is Real and Holy, doesn’t look exactly how they FEEL about the Faith.

    Tear out the “Mary Worship”. Grab some hoes, “Indulgences” have to go. Make sure you get rid of “The Real Presence” at the roots. “Monasticism” looks suspiciously like something that grows in somebody else’s field, and we think they’re going to Hell, so NOBODY should be a monk or a nun. Matter of fact, I don’t like the way this field is laid out at all: lets move all the wheat we have left to another field, re-plant it, and when Jesus comes here, we’ll just take him to the new field and he’ll be really impressed because he won’t have to do anything! He’ll see we’ve worked really hard for Him, and he’ll totally melt when we say “Your work was sufficient” and He’ll give us a GREAT BIG HUG and take us out for SUNDAES!! Yeah!!! I love you, Daddy. You’re the best savior ever, Jesus.

    It’s nauseating.

    It’s also not what he wanted, and it’s something the Jews had a history of doing – disappointing God with shows of piety that don’t help ANYBODY grow, rather than stupid obedience which is what helps EVERYBODY grow.

    I’m not calling you out willoh, I’m just saying that I don’t think there really IS a valid way to be a reformer without, first, admitting the full authority of what you wish to reform and letting go of all that self-validating “No Creed But The Bible”-zeal.

  35. Why is it that few Christian thinkers have noticed that it was not Jesus who focused on sin — that it was the scribes, priests and Pharisees that held this attitude toward spirituality? In only a couple of places did Jesus directly embarass anyone by publicly forgiving them, but he healed people wherever he went, and as many as he could. It was the clerics and “religious” whose sins he pointed out.

    How is it, then, that we are all still wrestling with Adam’s sin, as if that were anything but a small part of a teaching story that the Ancients told around the fire at night for the benefit of the children …?

    Yes, Jesus did suffer the “death,” and for a moment in eternity he became sin for us so that we don’t have to suffer any separation from God, ever. But we do daily endure injury and physical and emotional trauma in this life, and we are all in need of Christ’s healing touch. And all Christian sects believe that He now lives in us. We are all “little Christs.” He is still “incarnate” in our bodies.

    So while we each pray and wait for Him to touch us, He is waiting for us to reach out and heal each other….

  36. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    That’s why I’m so suspicious of people who do pretend that No Creed But The Bible isn’t just a way to distance themselves from Guilt By Association with past Christian failures. — Pat Lynch

    In Islam, there’s a similar movement called “Salafi”. They preach that modern Islam has been corrupted; the only solution is to return to the Pure Islam of the Days of the Prophet, a perpetual Year One of the Hegira. It doesn’t work, and is one of the factors responsible for extreme Islam’s stagnation and backwardness. All it does is provide recruits for the like of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Matter of fact, I don’t like the way this field is laid out at all: lets move all the wheat we have left to another field, re-plant it, and when Jesus comes here, we’ll just take him to the new field and he’ll be really impressed because he won’t have to do anything! — Pat Lynch

    That sounds a lot like the Russian Army anecdote about the visiting general. The entry to the army base the General was visiting was lined with trees — only all the trees had died. What to do?

    “Quick — paint all the dead trees green and we’ll drive him by them really really fast! He’ll never notice!”

  37. I don’t believe anyone has the ability or the right to judge anyone else’s faith or salvation. There is no “loyalty test.” No one can even be sure that when they carry out God’s will to the best of their knowledge and ability what the results will be.

    When Mother Theresa of Calcutta was asked how one could know they were doing God’s will, she told the inquirer to make a fist. She then opened one finger at a time, saying, “To – the – least – of – these …”

    The message of the Gospel — what is “new” about the New Testament — is that all of Scripture — in fact, all of human experience — must be interpreted through the prism of this “One Solitary Life” ….

  38. LatinBapitstMass says

    In the responses, I came across, “We are not Protestants.” This made me reflect back to when a pastor (who is now retired) at my church said the same thing to me about 3 years ago. I was explaining some point of Catholic doctrine to my students and asked him a question as he walked by, and he said that he does not consider Southern Baptists protestants. I wish I had asked him what he meant by that, but I was just puzzled and went back to talking to my SS student.

    Has anyone else heard this or know of this or experience this?

  39. Ky boy but not now says

    “We are not Protestants.”

    There are a non trivial number of SBC people that I’ve know who consider the Anglican and Lutheran traditions something almost as alien to the SBC as the RCC. It requires a strong misunderstanding of church history but it’s there.

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